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Federal government caps alcohol tax after public outcry

By Tara Clow Mar 29, 2023 | 10:06 AM

Simon_sees / CC

The federal budget was a win for those who enjoy their beer, wine and spirits.

What was expected to be the highest hike in the excise tax in 40 years, the beverage alcohol duty will only rise two percent instead of 6.3.

The increase is set to take effect on April 1st, and according to the budget, the inflation adjustment will be capped for one year.

The President of Beer Canada is applauding the move, “We are grateful that Minister Freeland responded to today’s unique business circumstances, a struggling hospitality sector and a fragile consumer and reduced this year’s increase in federal excise duties. Canada currently has the highest beer tax rates in the G7. 2023’s scheduled increase would have been the largest beer tax hike imposed on Canadians in 40 years,” said CJ Hélie.

The group says Canadian brewers, hospitality and tourism businesses are still struggling to recover from the pandemic with out-of-home beer sales in taprooms, bars & restaurants, festivals, and sporting venues still 15 percent to 20 percent below pre-pandemic levels.

“Faced with already very high tax rates, increased operating costs and depressed beer sales volumes, a 6.3% federal beer tax increase this year would have been devastating to brewers, brewery workers, the hospitality and tourism sector and hard-working Canadian consumers and we are appreciative that Minister Freeland’s took action to provide the sector some breathing room to recover”, added Hélie.


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